music has a very long, unbroken tradition and is an accumulated
heritage of centuries. It is believed that the sage
introduced the art of music to the Earth. The origin can be traced
back to Vedic days, nearly two thousand years ago. It is said that the sound
that pervades the whole universe, i.e. Nadabrahma, itself represents the divinity. Organised Indian music
owes its origin to the
The Veda has all the seven notes of the raga
in the descending order.
earliest Raga is speculated to be
Raga'. Theories and treatises began to be written about how
the primitive sound 'Om' gave rise to the various notes. The first
reference to music was made by Panini (500 BC) and the first
reference to musical theory is found in Rikpratisakhya (400 BC). Bharata's
(4th Century AD) contains several chapters on music.
This is probably the first work that clearly elaborated the octave
and divided it into 22 keys. The next major work on music was
which also endorses the existence of the 22
per octave and even goes to suggest that these 22
are the only ones a human body could make. This view was expressed
again by another musicologist of the 13th century AD Saranga Deva
in his famous work Sangeeta
Ratnakara. Saranga Deva, among other things, defined almost
264 Ragas, including some Dravidian and North Indian ones. He also
described the various 'kinds' of 'microtones' and also classified
them into different categories. Of the other important works on
Indian music, mention may be made of
(9 AD) written by Matanga, which attempts to define the word
century AD) written by Narada, which enumerates 93 Ragas and
classifies them into masculine and feminine species,
of Ramamatya (16 AD) and
of Venkatamakhi (17 AD).
took a long time for music to come to its present-day form. In the
beginning music was devotional in content and was purely used for
ritualistic purposes and was restricted to temples. During the
late Vedic period (3000-1200 BC), a form of music called
was prevalent which involved chanting of the verses set to
Various forms of music like
were evolved to narrate the epics. Between 2-7 AD a form of
Sangeet, which was written in Sanskrit, became very popular.
This form gave way to a simpler form called
which used Hindi as the medium. The Gupta Period is considered as
the golden era in the development of Indian music.
All the music treatises like
were written during this period.
of the strongest and most significant influences on Indian music
has perhaps been that of Persian music, which brought in a changed
perspective in the style of Northern Indian music. In the 15th
century AD, as a result of the patronage given to the classical
music by the rulers, the devotional
transformed into the
form of singing. The
developed as a new form of singing in the 18th century
AD. The Indian classical music, thus, developed from the
ritualistic music in association with folk music and other musical
expressions of India's extended neighbourhood, developing into its
own characteristic art. It is then that the two schools of music
(North Indian music) and the
(South Indian music). Historical roots of both Hindustani and
Carnatic classical music traditions stem from Bharata's Natyashastra. The two traditions started to diverge only around 14th
Century AD. Carnatic music is
kriti based and
(lyric) oriented, while Hindustani music emphasises on the
musical structure and the possibilities of improvisation in it.
Hindustani music adopted a scale of
Swara saptaka (octave of natural notes) while Carnatic music
retained the traditional octave.
Both systems have shown great assimilative power,
constantly absorbing folk tunes and regional tilts and elevating
many of them to the status of
These systems have also mutually influenced each other.